Turin Goal Glut Between Old Lady & Viola
Juventus v Fiorentina
With another league title all but sewn up earlier this week Juventus set their sights on their Coppa Italia semi-final first leg against in-form Fiorentina on Thursday.
Juventus took a huge step towards their fourth Serie A title in a row with the 1-1 draw in their top of the table clash away to Roma on Monday night which meant Massimo Allegri’s side stayed nine points clear with 13 games remaining.
Despite the sizable gap, the Old Lady will be disappointed not to have stretched their lead at the top after Carlos Tevez curled in a fantastic free-kick resulting from the incident which saw Vasilios Torosidis sent off before Seydou Keita levelled for the hosts. They’ve lost just once in 23 matches – which came in a penalty shootout – although they have failed to keep a clean sheet in five or win on the road in their last three.
Tevez’s dead ball special in Rome took him clear at the top of the scorers charts in Serie A with 15 league goals this term and 21 in total for the Argentinian.
A hard-fought 1-0 win over Inter in Milan on Sunday made it a hugely impressive run of 12 games undefeated for Fiorentina, with on-loan Chelsea winger Mohamed Salah grabbing the only goal of the game to move the Viola within three points of the Champions League places.
Vincenzo Montella has now watched his side claim clean sheets in each of their last two games and knock Spurs and Roma out of cup competitions in the last month as they really pick up a head of steam in a late surge which has put them in with a chance of making it a memorable season for the club.
Young striker Khouma Babacar is the club’s top scorer this season with eight in total while Salah has now scored in each of his last three appearances and four times in only three starts overall.
Paul Pogba could return in midfield for Juve after missing out earlier in the week with a knock which saw him remain on the bench throughout but Andrea Pirlo, Luca Marrone, Romulo and Kwadwo Asamoah are still absent.
Spanish playmaker Borja Valero is doubtful for Fiorentina who are still without Jose Basanta, Matias Fernandez and Ciprian Tatarusanu. Long-term absentees Giuseppe Rossi and Cristiano Lupatelli are on the comeback trail though and expected back soon.
Head to Head
The pair played out a scoreless draw in Florence earlier this season, both sides won their home clashes in Serie A last season but Juve knocked Fiorentina out of the Europa League in the final of their three clashes over 11 days a year ago.
The Viola’s win last season was their only victory in the last 15 meetings between the teams but there has been six draws over that period too.
With both teams performing well and mirroring each others results over the last five games it couldn’t be more finely poised and although the 4/7 on a Juve win is justifiable 5/6 on both teams to score holds far more appeal. At 4/5 I’d expect to see more than 2.5 goals going in while Salah’s recent goal-glut makes the 13/2 on the Egyptian scoring anytime a fantastic punt for value.